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Russia: Iran was spooked by reports of U.S. F-35s when it downed airliner
Russia: Iran was spooked by reports of U.S. F-35s when it downed airliner

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday that Iran's accidental shooting down of a Ukrainian airliner last week occurred at a time when Tehran was spooked by reports of advanced U.S. stealth fighters in the area. Iran's downing of Ukraine International Airlines flight 752, which killed all 176 people aboard, has created a crisis for the Islamic Republic's clerical rulers who have faced days of protests after the Iranian military admitted it had shot down the plane accidentally. Lavrov, speaking at his annual news conference in Moscow, called the incident a human error and said he was not trying to excuse anyone for what happened.

'I remember that call': Devin Nunes recalls 'odd' chat with indicted Giuliani associate Parnas

"I remember that call, which was very odd, random, talking about random things," Nunes told Fox on Wednesday.

Germany
Germany's $6.7 billion frigate deal with Dutch shipbuilder Damen may be the last of its kind

A new policy, up for a Cabinet decision within weeks, would favor German vendors in building naval surface ships.

Russia Wants America To Know That Its F-35s "Will Never Be Alone" In Europe
Russia Wants America To Know That Its F-35s "Will Never Be Alone" In Europe

A threat or a promise?

Christian school expelled student over a
Christian school expelled student over a 'gay' rainbow cake, family says

The mom of a Whitefield Academy student in Louisville said school officials believed the rainbow-related photo suggested her daughter was gay.

CNN draws fire for debate question that ignores denial
CNN draws fire for debate question that ignores denial

CNN is drawing fire from Bernie Sanders supporters for a debate moderator's question that appeared to dismiss his denial of a story that he had told rival Elizabeth Warren that a woman couldn't win the presidential election. The issue, first raised in a story reported by CNN earlier this week, became a part of CNN's coverage Tuesday of a debate between Democratic presidential candidates co-sponsored with the Des Moines Register. There was some laughter from the audience, and Sanders shook his head.

A rare chemical that helped DNA form may have come to Earth on comets from newborn stars, astronomers find
A rare chemical that helped DNA form may have come to Earth on comets from newborn stars, astronomers find

Phosphorus is key in forming DNA, but the element is rare in the universe. Astronomers found molecules forming with the element around newborn stars

Heartbreaking photos show dogs and horses being rescued after Taal volcano eruption
Heartbreaking photos show dogs and horses being rescued after Taal volcano eruption

The nation's disaster response team said that at least 30,000 people fled their homes that surrounded the country's second most active volcano Monday.

Ted Cruz Pitches
Ted Cruz Pitches 'Witness Reciprocity' for Impeachment Trial

Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) on Tuesday pitched the idea of "witness reciprocity" for the Senate impeachment trial during a meeting with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) and other top Senate Republicans.The idea would allow Republicans and Democrats to summon an equal number of witnesses to testify. For example, if the Democrats subpoena testimony from former national security adviser John Bolton, Republicans would be allowed to summon Hunter Biden in return."We'll be dealing with the witness issue at the appropriate time into the trial. And I think it's certainly appropriate to point out that both sides would want to call witnesses if they wanted to hear from...

Exclusive: U.N. sanctions experts warn - stay away from North Korea cryptocurrency conference
Exclusive: U.N. sanctions experts warn - stay away from North Korea cryptocurrency conference

United Nations sanctions experts are warning people not to attend a cryptocurrency conference in North Korea in February, flagging it as a likely sanctions violation, according to a confidential report due to be submitted to the U.N. Security Council later this month. The warning comes after the independent U.N. experts told the council in August that North Korea generated an estimated $2 billion for its weapons of mass destruction programs using "widespread and increasingly sophisticated" cyberattacks to steal from banks and cryptocurrency exchanges. North Korea has been under U.N. sanctions since 2006 over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Joe Biden
Joe Biden's Still Winning, and No One Laid a Glove on Him

Joe Biden is never going to wow you in one of these Democratic debates. He doesn't have to. Tuesday night's debate-the last one before the Iowa caucuses-was no exception. Warren and Biden Skirmish Over U.S. Troops in Middle EastAsk yourself this: Do you really think anything happened that would change the mind of an undecided voter? Yeah, me neither. What that means is that the race is likely frozen until the Iowa caucuses in 20 days. Joe Biden went into the debate as the frontrunner. Bernie Sanders went into the debate as his main rival. Nothing happened to change that. I'm a bit amazed that nobody took this opportunity to try to change that dynamic. Perhaps it's because going after...

U.S. Tariffs Set to Remain in Place Until After Election Under Trade Deal with China: Report
U.S. Tariffs Set to Remain in Place Until After Election Under Trade Deal with China: Report

The U.S. will keep billions of dollars of tariffs on Chinese goods in place until after the 2020 election as leverage to keep Beijing from violating a phase-one trade deal, Bloomberg reported Tuesday.The $360 billion in scheduled tariffs is slated to be kept in place and only reviewed for potential trimming after the election - a detail that is reportedly not specified in the text of the agreement.The U.S. currently has heavy tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports, while China has tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. products."The only non-public component of the agreement is a confidential annex with detailed purchase amounts, which has been previously described," U.S. Trade...

Warren, Sanders backers feud after
Warren, Sanders backers feud after 'Pocahontas' text message

A text message that referred to Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren as "Pocahontas" that was sent through rival Bernie Sanders' volunteer messaging system led to social media feuding and confusion among supporters of both candidates. It turns out the text message came from a rogue Sanders campaign volunteer believed to be a supporter of President Donald Trump, the campaign told The Associated Press. The person responded by saying they weren't because they were a Warren campaign volunteer.

U.S. Army green berets admit to stealing $200,000 in counter-terrorism cash

Former Sergeant First Class William Chamberlain, 46, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and receiving stolen government property in federal court in North Carolina on Monday after having fought the charges for years, prosecutors said. Four other soldiers, who like Chamberlain were from the 3rd Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg in North Carolina and served in Afghanistan, pleaded guilty in 2014 while Chamberlain planned to defend himself at trial.

Philippine lawyer to withdraw ICC complaint against Duterte
Philippine lawyer to withdraw ICC complaint against Duterte

A Philippines lawyer who filed a complaint at the International Criminal Court (ICC) accusing President Rodrigo Duterte of murder in a bloody anti-drugs crackdown said on Tuesday he will no longer pursue the case. The complaint filed by attorney Jude Sabio in 2017 is one of several communications to the court calling for Duterte's indictment over thousands of alleged extrajudicial killings during his campaign against narcotics. "I fervently request that it be expunged or erased from the record, and that it should not be used in any way in the ongoing preliminary examination," Sabio said in a 28-page letter addressed to ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.

How Iran-US tensions could benefit a new Mideast player: China

As U.S. allies worry about the reliability of the U.S., China's focus on economic aid and staying out of the political fray is appealing.

The North Korean Army
The North Korean Army's 105th Armored Division: Kim's Secret Weapon?

Kim has more dangerous tools than nukes at his disposal.

Kentucky miners block coal train over missed paychecks

Some Kentucky coal miners and their families stood on train tracks Monday to prevent a train loaded with coal from leaving, saying they had worked since Dec. 16 without being paid. Quest Energy was closed for the day and couldn't be reached for comment later Monday.

Aurora, Colorado, Shooting Leaves 3 Juveniles, 2 Adults Injured: Police
Aurora, Colorado, Shooting Leaves 3 Juveniles, 2 Adults Injured: Police

Law enforcement said no one has been arrested yet

Hungary Mulls Income-Tax Exemption for Women With Three Children

(Bloomberg) -- Want the lowdown on European markets? In your inbox before the open, every day. Sign up here.Hungary's leader is pushing to scrap personal income tax for women with at least three children, expanding a policy currently available to mothers of four or more.The move is part of increasingly

Carnival cruises have banned
Carnival cruises have banned 'offensive clothing' featuring 'nudity, profanity, or sexual innuendo'

Passengers also can no longer wear clothes that "promote negative ethnic or racial, commentary, or hatred or violence."

China Would Rather You Forget Their Losing a War Against Vietnam
China Would Rather You Forget Their Losing a War Against Vietnam

In 1979 the PLA didn't live up to expectations.

Iran refuses to hand over the crashed Ukrainian Boeing 737
Iran refuses to hand over the crashed Ukrainian Boeing 737's black box to the embattled manufacturer

Iranian authorities found a flight recorder from the crashed Boeing 737-800. The so-called black box could provide insight into the crash's cause.

Iran says
Iran says 'fierce attack has begun' as rockets hit Iraq bases with American troops

The Pentagon said it was working on a battle damage assessment.

3 graphics reveal the unimaginable scale of Australia
3 graphics reveal the unimaginable scale of Australia's fires

Australia is in the midst of its worst wildfire season in history. The smoke plume from the blazes stretches 1.3 billion acres.

Mitch McConnell outmaneuvers the Democrats - again
Mitch McConnell outmaneuvers the Democrats - again

Few Beltway figures have proven themselves cagier than Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R). When it came to fighting a showdown over the impeachment trial rules, however, McConnell had help - from Democrats past and present. And despite a last-minute surprise from former National Security Adviser John Bolton, McConnell got exactly what he wanted in the end.Ever since the House passed two articles of impeachment against President Trump, McConnell has insisted that the Senate will follow the rules put in place by the unanimous vote for Bill Clinton's trial in 1999. Those rules allow the Senate to accept the articles of impeachment from House managers, question them as to the strength...

Putin on surprise visit to Assad as Mideast boils
Putin on surprise visit to Assad as Mideast boils

Russian President Vladimir Putin met Syria's Bashar al-Assad Tuesday during a surprise visit to Damascus as the prospect of war between Iran and the United States loomed over the region. In one of the highest-profile assassinations in the troubled Middle East's recent history, Washington killed top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani Friday, triggering vows of bloody revenge from Tehran and its allies. On his first visit to the capital since the start of the Syrian conflict nearly nine years ago, Putin greeted the Russian forces stationed there on the occasion of the Orthodox Christmas.

Cooler weather brings respite in Australian wildfire crisis
Cooler weather brings respite in Australian wildfire crisis

Milder temperatures Sunday brought hope of a respite from wildfires that have ravaged three Australian states, claiming 24 lives and destroying almost 2,000 homes. Saturday was a day of high tension as soaring temperatures and strong winds fanned fires in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, forcing thousands to flee and bringing flames to the suburban fringes of Sydney. As dawn broke over a blackened landscape Sunday, a picture emerged of disaster of unprecedented scale.

Slain Hubby Claimed Doomsday Mom Threatened to Kill Him
Slain Hubby Claimed Doomsday Mom Threatened to Kill Him

Lori Vallow, the mother of two Idaho children who have vanished, allegedly threatened to kill her estranged husband five months before he was murdered, according to divorce documents.Charles Vallow said in the papers that Lori was obsessed with doomsday and near-death scenarios and told him in January that she was a "translated being who cannot taste death sent by god to lead the 144,000 into the Millennium."By July, Charles Vallow was dead-allegedly shot by Lori's brother, Alex Cox, who himself died of unknown causes on Dec. 12. A few months later, Lori married Chad Daybell, a doomsday writer whose own wife had died weeks earlier.The newlyweds left Idaho, police said, after investigators...

Klobuchar gains momentum in Iowa - but can a centrist hope to win there?
Klobuchar gains momentum in Iowa - but can a centrist hope to win there?

The Minnesota senator is reaching out to Iowa's smallest towns and rural settlements ahead of the vital February caucus and seeing increasing numbersCraig Hiller, an Iowa farmer, had just enjoyed a hot chocolate on Amy Klobuchar's campaign bus as it made a stop in the small town of Rockwell City, population just 2,100.Hiller, whose state is the vital first one to cast ballots in the party's nomination race to pick an opponent to Donald Trump, was impressed by the Minnesota senator, a fellow midwesterner who desperately needs a strong showing in Iowa to boost her 2020 presidential campaign."Who we need is someone who someone who's down to earth, who no one can hate," Hiller said on...

UK
UK's Johnson to meet EU chief von der Leyen in London

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will meet European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in London on Wednesday ahead of the opening rounds of trade talks that will begin once Britain formally leaves the bloc on Jan. 31. The two leaders are likely to discuss whether they can strike a new trade relationship in the transition period that will follow until December 2020. Von der Leyen has said time is extremely short "for the mass of issues that have to be negotiated".

War with Iran: How the U.S. Navy SEALs Would Attack
War with Iran: How the U.S. Navy SEALs Would Attack

They'd have an uphill battle.

Victim, 2 suspects identified in deadly Oakland Starbucks laptop theft
Victim, 2 suspects identified in deadly Oakland Starbucks laptop theft

The man who was killed while trying to retrieve a laptop after it was stolen at an Oakland Starbucks has been identified as 34-year-old Shuo Zeng. Two suspects arrested in the case have been identified as 22-year-old Byron Reed and 21-year-old Javon Eugene Lee.

3 crashes, 3 deaths raise questions about Tesla
3 crashes, 3 deaths raise questions about Tesla's Autopilot

On Sunday, a Tesla Model S sedan left a freeway in Gardena, California, at a high speed, ran a red light and struck a Honda Civic, killing two people inside, police said. On the same day, a Tesla Model 3 hit a parked firetruck on an Indiana freeway, killing a passenger in the Tesla. The special crash investigation unit of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is looking into the California crash.

Typhoon misery for Philippines on Christmas Day
Typhoon misery for Philippines on Christmas Day

Typhoon Phanfone pummelled the central Philippines on Christmas Day, bringing a wet and miserable holiday season to millions in the mainly Catholic nation. Thousands were stranded at shuttered ports or evacuation centres at the height of the festive season on Wednesday, and residents cowered in rain-soaked homes as Phanfone leapt from one small island to another for the second day. The typhoon toppled houses and trees and blacked out cities in the Philippines' most storm-prone region, but no deaths were reported.

India
India's protesters: a cross-section of society

Tens of thousands of Indians have taken to the streets in recent days to voice their anger over a new citizenship law that they say discriminates against the minority Muslim community. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government, facing its biggest test since sweeping to power in 2014 -- with at least 25 people killed in almost two weeks of protests -- insists the law is not discriminatory. AFP spoke to five protesters who took part in a demonstration in New Delhi on Tuesday.

House lawyers leave door open to new articles of impeachment
House lawyers leave door open to new articles of impeachment

In a federal appeals court filing, House lawyers said testimony from Don McGahn could provide new evidence President Trump committed additional impeachable offenses.

'Ring of fire' solar eclipse to darken sky over India, Philippines Thursday

Saturday's solstice may have marked the shortest day of the year across Asia, but Thursday may be the darkest day of the year as a solar eclipse causes the day to turn dark.Most of Asia will experience a partial solar eclipse on Thursday, as well as some parts of eastern Africa and northern Australia, but a small area will experience an annular solar eclipse, sometimes called a 'ring of fire' eclipse. This includes part of the Middle East, southern India, northern Sri Lanka, and part of the Philippines.The best time to view the eclipse will be in the early morning in the Middle East, mid-morning in India and Sri Lanka, and early afternoon in Indonesia, but precise times will vary from...

Michael Bloomberg, the wealthiest 2020 candidate, used prison labor to help his campaign
Michael Bloomberg, the wealthiest 2020 candidate, used prison labor to help his campaign

Michael Bloomberg, who is worth about $54 billion, used prisoners to make phone calls to California for his 2020 presidential campaign.

Japan
Japan's Imperial Navy Once Seemed Unstoppable.

But then this happened.

Elon Musk says you still don
Elon Musk says you still don't need a college degree to work at Tesla. Here's what he looks for in job applicants instead.

"If there's a track record of exceptional achievement, then it's likely that that will continue into the future," Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in 2014.

U.S. ready to deal with any North Korean
U.S. ready to deal with any North Korean 'Christmas gift': Trump

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday brushed off North Korea's warning of a "Christmas gift," saying the United States would "deal with it very successfully," amid U.S. concerns that Pyongyang might be preparing a long-range missile test. China, North Korea's most important backer, meanwhile, urged Washington to take "concrete steps" as soon as possible to implement agreements reached during last year's summit between Trump and North Korea leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore.

Syria regime forces surround Turkish army post in Idlib
Syria regime forces surround Turkish army post in Idlib

Syrian government forces surrounded a Turkish observation post in Idlib province Monday after overrunning nearby areas in a push to take the last opposition bastion, a war monitor said. The Idlib region in northwest Syria has seen an uptick in violence in recent days as regime forces supported by Russian airstrikes have launched a fresh assault to capture one of the largest urban centres in the area. On Monday, regime forces surrounded one of 12 Turkish observation posts in the region, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Trump May Be Acquitted in a Senate Impeachment Trial. That
Trump May Be Acquitted in a Senate Impeachment Trial. That's Not the Same as Being Exonerated

The Senate may vote to acquit President Trump in the impeachment trial, according to Joyce White Vance, but if the process isn't fair, then that acquittal won't exonerate him.

A Note to North Korea
A Note to North Korea's Kim Jong-un: Choose Your 'Christmas Gift' to Trump Wisely

By taking away the one thing-the absence of North Korean long-range missile and nuclear tests-Trump has been able to brag about over the last year and a half, the North Korean leader will be making a purposeful choice to kick the American president in the shins. And Trump is pre-programmed to take such an offense badly.

Could Russia
Could Russia's S-500 Air Defense System Be A Real F-35 'Silver Bullet'?

It was recently tested in Syria.

Beware, Russia and China: The U.S. Military Is Testing a New Ballistic Missile
Beware, Russia and China: The U.S. Military Is Testing a New Ballistic Missile

The Pentagon fired-off a new prototype conventionally-configured, ground-launched ballistic missile as part of a broader effort to increase medium-range attack options and further fortify deterrence efforts.

AP FACT CHECK: Trump
AP FACT CHECK: Trump's flawed impeachment letter to Pelosi

The closing passage in President Donald Trump's impeachment-eve letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had the ring of truth to it. On matters central to the case against him, to his legacy and to his ego, Trump got much wrong. The Democrats did not shut him out of their impeachment process, but rather invited him in.

Cuba to name first prime minister in 40 years
Cuba to name first prime minister in 40 years

Cuba is to resurrect the position of prime minister in a parliamentary session at the end of the week, with President Miguel Diaz-Canel nominating a candidate to the post which has remained dormant for more than 40 years. The last time Cuba had a prime minister, it was revolutionary hero Fidel Castro. "I don't know what his functions will be, I imagine that he'll be helping that poor Diaz-Canel who never stops, going here and there trying to sort out the country," said Maria Fernandez, a 65-year-old pensioner.


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